Anarchists in Lyon have called a protest against fascist street-thuggery for Saturday November 26th, after an attack by around 20 fascists on La Plume Noir bookshop smashed windows and injured people defending the building.
In a statement, members of the Coordination des Groups Anarchistes (CGA) said: “This attack is not an isolated act, it is part of the current rise in power of the extreme right and a general multiplication of attacks against minorities and activists. Neo-nazi groups are able to open storefronts anywhere in France with the complacency of governments which do nothing. CGA Lyon is calling on locals, political organisations, unions and associations to mobilise progressives and show solidarity against these attacks.”
The fascist attack on the libertarian-aligned bookshop took place on November 19th in the aftermath of a rally on behalf of fundamentalist Catholic organisation the Society of St Pius X (SPXX). Despite being banned by local authorities as a public safety risk, the noon protest drew around 300 right-wing hardliners to Place Colbert, a few minutes’ walk north from the city centre, to denounce a planned conversion of the long-disused Saint Bernard church into a business center by 2019. SPXX, which was founded by the infamous French fascist archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, wants to take over the premises. It has such a history of anti-Semitism and holocaust denial that even the Catholic church has taken action against its bishops, including the excommunication of Lefebvre himself in 1988, shortly before his death.
Members of the Groupe Union Défense (GUD), Action Française and Parti Nationaliste Français are reported to have attended wearing helmets and weapons and at around 6pm a group of armed fascists moved over to La Plume Noire, just south of Place Colbert. Organisers expected the attack, so a dozen people were on hand to defend the building and the metal curtain was brought down to help protect the people inside, but the fascists managed to raise one shutter and smashed another, destroying the windows behind it. A number of defenders were injured by projectiles during the assault.
The fascists were not disturbed or inspected by the many policemen present and, according to witnesses, the cops instead protected the rally — holding back antifascist activists and locals. Organisers said the collusion was unsurprising, pointing to recent police protests which had been attended and supported by far-right elements.
In comments made to Anarkismo, CGA Lyon said: “The resistance of our comrades stopped the fascists entering the building, but couldn’t avoid property damage: the destruction of all window panes and part of the metal blinds. Several people were slightly injured in this attack that lasted long minutes, mainly because of projectiles (stones, metallic tools, bottles) thrown by the fascists. When they arrived and when they left, the fascists chanted ‘on est chez nous,’ ‘la France aux Français’ (xenophobic slogans) and ‘death to the Jews’.
“In the face of such challenges, we reaffirm that we won’t be intimidated, and we call for solidarity and a large reaction from all components of the progressive camp.”
Fascist confidence has been growing in France alongside the rise of the electoral far-right, with Jean Marie Le Pen’s Front National polling strongly in recent presidential primaries. New fascist offices have opened in several french cities including Lille and Lyon, giving the bootboy-right space to plan street level intimidation. There are now four fascist premises in Lyon alone linked to PNF, GUD, Action Francaise and “les identitaires.”
About Plume Noir and how to help
Lyon’s anarchist bookshop was founded in 1989, and was originally linked to the Federation Anarchiste, sister group of AFed in Britain, which ran the building until 2007. The last time it was attacked by fascists was via an arson attack at its previous premises in 1997. It moved to 8 rue Diderot in 2011 and is currently run by the CGA.
CGA is asking for help to get the building up and running again. You can pay in direct via Le Pot Commun. Cheques are also welcome, payable to “La Plume Noire, The 8 rue Diderot 69001” or international transfers can be made to IBAN: FR16 2004 1010 0711 8625 8J03 850